Steelers Running Back Need In The Draft Doesn\’t Escalate With Release Of Rainey

The release of running back Chris Rainey following his Thursday arrest down in Florida came quickly and it now leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers without any running backs under contract for 2013 as we sit here in the middle January.

The release of Rainey, however, won\’t make the running back position any higher of a priority in the April draft than it already was heading into last week as both Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will be restricted tendered as previously planned, and Baron Batch will also be exclusive rights tendered. While there might be a slight chance that Redman could be signed to an offer sheet by another team once the free agency period begins, the Steelers would still have the right to match it.

Over the course of the next few weeks the Steelers will sign a few running backs to reserve/future contracts in order to give them bodies to work with during the mini camps. This is the usual process, only this time you might see a few more added at the position than you normally would at this time of the year due to the lack of numbers currently under contract and being as Batch is rehabbing his surgically repaired arm.

The Steelers already were likely planning on Rashard Mendenhall not being in Pittsburgh next season as he will surely test the free agency waters once the signing period begins in the middle of March. Rainey? He was used very sparingly on offense during his rookie season and recorded all of 162 total yards on offense on just over 150 offensive snaps. To think that his role in 2013 was going to grow considerably had he remained on the roster is foolish.

Yes, the Steelers most likely will draft a running back in the first three rounds of the 2013 draft, but the position will not be escalated in priority like many would have you believe just because Rainey was released.

  • Sylky_Mcnasty

    I would still like to see if we can make a play on Eddie Lacey

  • Clint Martin

    I agree the release of Rainey has nothing to do with the fact that the Steelers are in need of a capable starting running back. They needed one before his release and he is not the type of back that can handle the load at the NFL level.
    Can anyone say Montee Ball?

  • Sylky_Mcnasty

    Exactly. With the loss of Wallace and the implementation of the dink and dunk system, we need to have a back on roster that can consistently gain yardage without needing monster holes because they have vision. I like Redman and Dwyer but neither has good running back vision. We dont need a back that will get 1-2 yards for most carries and then break a decent run once a game.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. They still needed a so called ‘feature back’ regardless

  • Maurice_hill_district

    4th round. In 4th rd can get a RB good enuff.

    We have needs at almost every position.

    If an offense not gonna practice more, then might as well draft punters because we’ll be wearing out our punters.

  • Matt Lipner

    I agree that Rainey wouldn’t have seen a much bigger role on offense next year, but I really think he could have become a dynamic punt returner if given a year of experience and another offseason. I can honestly say I am really disappointed that he will not have the chance to develop.

  • steeltown

    I think that it doesnt necessarily make the need more or “escalate” the need, because they already needed one anyway.. with Mendy most likely gone and Batch injured (again) they will certainly draft another RB.. all this really does is give some young guy off the streets or undrafted a real chance to show what they are made of in camp and possibly make the Team (atleast on the PS)

    Last year we had a surplus of extra (often injured) RB’s on active roster between a rehabbing Mendenhall, Batch, Rainey and of course Redman & Dwyer.. all the guys on roster made it unnecessary to keep one on the PS, say like a Dijuan Harris (had to say it)

    Lets say Redman and Dwyer are both retained AND they draft a guy AND Batch is ready to go by the start of the season, that’s 4RB’s, but they also will keep another body on the PS, who could eventually be activated due to injury (lets face it between Redman and Batch, someone will be sidelined with injuries) so Rainey being cut gives someone, most likely a new face off the street, a much better shot at playing in the NFL

  • Maurice_hill_district

    I was surprised we spent a draft pick on just a returner, because undersized backs who are excellent returners in college are always available the college world is full of those who dont get drafted. Our previous Rainey was Stefan Logan who we got for nothin. Logan too was a 5th WR/RB. So we’ll get another one, just dont ask Pouncey for advice this time.

  • steeltown

    Thats true, there are plenty of undersized speed guys to go around, most dont get drafted BECAUSE of their slight builds, think David Gilreath who we had already had on roster at the time

  • Too bad we’re so handicapped with the salary cap or else we could take a chance at signing someone through free agency like Steven Jackson. I know he’s long in the tooth, but expecting Dwyer or Redman to elevate their games, or a draft pick to be productive is a little unrealistic.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Think you could do an article on some of the RB prospects we might look at?

  • Maurice_hill_district

    I wonder can Gilreath return kicks? Hmm theres an idea.

  • Jake


  • Kevin Gobleck

    What do you mean?

  • alex

    you lose Rainey and soon Wallace and were is your speed threat…better keep that D pumped up because your special teams are less that average and your offense in going backwards…

  • LucasY59

    I think Jackson is the kind of running back the Steelers need, runs hard like Redman so he wont be stopped in the backfield half the time (a must with the o-line and blocking scheme) but also has the skill to break a decently long run every once in awhile (also a veteran that can help the younger backs as well, like Bettis did with Parker) I would also like to see them draft Barner (5th or 6th rd) from Oregon to replace Rainey (isnt as fragile, still has speed) to go along with Dwyer and Batch (Redman if they can afford him) and you have an upgrade over this years running backs because there isnt Mendenhall coming of an ACL and dancing in the backfield. Jackson might be willing to sign for less to a team that gives him a chance to get to the superbowl also.

  • Clint Martin

    If he is available at 17th pick I will get on my knees and pray! He is a beast and the type of running back that can change a game, He reminds me of Jackson from St. Louis

  • Clint Martin

    A draft pick can be productive other teams have them starting every game I don’t want to hear the offense is to tough to learn bullshit. Alfred Morris late round pick had more yards rushing than Mendenhall ever had in 1 season. He rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 TD’s

  • That’s like hitting the lottery. No matter if we spent our 1st rd. pick on a RB we still have no guarantee that he’d start let alone produce like Morris did his rookie year.

  • steeltown

    Gilreath College Bio: Led Wisconsin in punt return yards and kickoff return yards, second in all-purpose yards, third in receiving yards and fourth in receptions and rushing yards. Named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after returning opening kickoff 97 yards for TD in win over No. 1 ranked Ohio St. Was named team’s special team MVP. Left school The Big Ten all time leader in kick off return yards (3,025). Only player in Wisconsin history to score a receiving, rushing, punt return, and a kick return touchdown.. hmmm interesting, but again, he was like 170lbs soaking wet so no one drafted him, I think he’s closer to 175-180lbs now

    I was pretty upset when he was claimed off waivers by Tampa, because the Steelers should not be using Brown or Sanders for kick returns, cant risk injury.. then was really glad we got Gilreath back on roster by the end of the season, he should make the Team in 2013 with Rainey and Wallace gone

  • Sylky_Mcnasty

    Yes of we can trade down in the second and get Jessie Williams or a defensive player in the first I would love lacy in the second round